In this post I would like to introduce Li Ka-Shing to you. He is also known by the nickname “Superman” due to his business acumen and zeal.
The Chinese is one of the richest and most influential business people in Asia. His biography is that of a dishwasher who became a billionaire. That is why he is very revered in Asia and his tips on living and doing business are listened to.
A life like a movie
Li was born in Chaozhou, southeast China, in 1928.
A Chinese-Japanese war raged during his school years and he fled to Hong Kong with his family. Unfortunately, his father died of tuberculosis shortly afterwards. Li started an apprenticeship in a plastic factory at the age of 13 to support his family financially.
The war and early death of the father were the most terrible experiences in his childhood. In an interview with Forbes magazine, Li remembers:
“The burden of poverty and this bitter taste of helplessness and isolation shaped the questions that still drive me forever.
Is it possible to reshape your fate?
Is it possible to minimize challenges by reducing complexity?
And can the chances of success be increased through careful planning? “
Young Li answered these questions with relentless flow and drive. In the plastics factory, he was eager to learn some basics about corporate management and accounting. At the age of 18, he was appointed head of the factory.
But that was not enough for him, so he started his own plastic production three years later with the savings and a loan of $ 6,500 from relatives. He called this Cheung Kong – “long river”.
Young Li chose this name after a Chinese proverb. This wisdom says that the Jangtze River only has such a strong current because it absorbs smaller rivers and only then becomes large.
In a figurative sense, Li believed that to be successful you had to accept other people and other opinions.
In any case, his factory made a fortune from the production of plastic flowers. Much of the sales went to the United States.
As his business grew, Li inevitably had to look around for a larger piece of land and came into contact with the real estate market.
Due to his business acumen, he began to invest increasingly in real estate from Hong Kong in 1958, at the age of 30. A very wise decision, as the following pictures show.
The breakthrough – the Cheung Kong Hutchison Holdings
His fortune grew with the development of the Asian metropolis. In 1971, his company was so successful that he brought it to the stock market under the name Cheung Kong Holdings.
In 1979 he caused a sensation when he took over the British company Hutchison Whampoa – one of the old British trading houses in Hong Kong.
He was the first Chinese to own a company of the former colonial power of Great Britain. This gave him some prestige and formed the basis for today’s Cheung Kong Hutchison Holdings.
It should also be the start of countless other investments. CK Hutchison Holdings is now one of the largest holding companies in Asia. The conglomerate employs more than 320,000 people and operates in more than 50 countries.
It consists of five core businesses – ports and related services, retail, infrastructure, energy and telecommunications.
Fun fact: The holding also owns 40 percent of the German drugstore chain Rossmann.
In fiscal 2018, revenue was $ 36 billion and operating profit was $ 5.8 billion. The company pays a dividend of $ 0.41, which, at a current price of $ 9.55, equates to a 4% dividend yield (all values based on HK dollar). The cash flow generated is approximately $ 7 billion.
Li has also had a knack for technology companies.
Through his technology investment company Horizons Ventures, he acquired about 0.8% of Facebook in December 2007 for $ 120 million. He also invested in Skype in 2005 – shortly afterwards it was acquired by eBay for $ 2.5 billion. Li had invested approximately $ 7.5 million in the company Siri, which was bought by Apple in 2010, a year earlier. More recently, he also bought shares in the music streaming service Spotify.
In just under seven decades, Li Ka-Shing became one of the richest people in the world. His net worth is approximately $ 30 billion, which puts him 28th in the Forbes ranking of the world’s richest people.
Of course, he maintains close relationships with the Chinese Communist Party. The Handelsblatt therefore criticized him as “patriot and pragmatist at the same time”.
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